It was pouring down rain with lightning popping all around. The boys and I actually decided to veer off our normal path to head home tonight. It was almost five and the interstate would be awful at that time.
Traffic was slow as we made our way to the next major intersection. As we inched forward I caught a glimpse of her.
Hoodie covering her frizzy brown hair with rain dripping off. She walked slowly towards us; a small, wet cardboard sign in hand.
I knew before I saw her face who she was.
Without knowing what else to do, my son and I called out her name and handed her an umbrella.
All my heart could muster up to say was “I’m sorry.”
For at least a year now her story has eluded me. I don’t really know who she is or why she is on the streets or even if she really is, but I do know this.
I can’t see her without seeing Jesus.
Yes, Roxanne is one of the many faces of Advent.
Several times we have talked and she often quotes scripture. Once, I had the nerve to pray with her. And, many other times I have had to drive by her. Begging God to change her life and forgive me.
When I think of Christmas, I can’t help but think of how overlooked Jesus himself must have been most of his life.
Perhaps like Roxanne is today.
Even at the birth of Christ, there were no major announcements or celebrations, just a simple word-of-mouth process with the smallest number of guests.
The Bible says our Lord had no place to lay His head. Immanuel, our Savior, was born in the lowliest of places surrounded by the smells and sounds of a stable. No grandeur or celebration. Rather less than mediocre circumstances. He was the least of all on that quiet night, yet came to save the whole world.
I love how time and time again, God chooses those who are the least expected to do the greatest things. It really is true.
In His glorious plan and perfect kingdom, the first shall be last and the last shall be first.
I am praying that one day, Roxanne will be first in heaven.
And, her once dirty face and matted hair will no longer be marked by age, grime or pain.
That the scars this world seems to have left on her life will be glorious jewels in her crown.
That is why Jesus came.
To do what we can’t do.
My prayers are but a tiny offering on her behalf in His kingdom, but I know, my tears shed are being caught and counted by our loving Heavenly Father.
And, He knows and cares.
Not just during this season of Advent, but for always.
Sometimes the faces of Advent look differently than we might expect, but those faces, the ones marred by pain and disappointment, are the ones we just can’t seem to forget.
No, for now, I don’t know her story, but her life is changing mine each time I see her precious face and it points me to Jesus.
You see just like the miraculous birth of Jesus, our lives are all part of God’s story.
Intertwined and woven together for His glory.
Heart to heart and hand to hand.
May we be your vessel, Father.
And, for Roxanne, Lord.
Please do more than I can ask or imagine in the sweet name of Jesus.